A public memorial was held at The Naro on Saturday, December 11, 2021, for the late Mal Vincent, long-time movie and theater critic and journalist at The Virginian-Pilot. Hosted by Naro owners Tench Phillips and Thom Vourlas, the program included lively remembrances by colleagues and community members along with musical and visual presentations. The video below was produced by videographer and digital media specialist Danny Lee Epperson for this event and he has kindly offered to share it with our Naro community at large. Enjoy!
See also Mal’s tribute cards below the video!
MAL’S TRIBUTE CARDS
Attendees at Mal’s Memorial at The Naro were invited to jot their thoughts and remembrances on tribute cards, which are reprinted below. Feel free to add your own thoughts below in the “Comments” form.
“Mal was a ‘voice’ and a showman — unforgettable, unique, with seemingly endless stories of his personal contact with movie stars. With a twinkle in his eye as he relished every word he ‘remembered.’
“The last time I saw Mal was after a Virginia Arts Festival performance in June, and he said, ‘Have you seen Page?’” (His close friend Page Laws was often seen with him at local arts events and movie theaters.)
“I said I just saw her and she was looking for him. Need I say more?”
— Faye Bailey
“Thanks for nourishing our love for classic movies, and thanks for being YOU!”
— Kathy Crist and Susan Schrader
“Often after a graduated Hurrah Player was starring on Broadway, Mal would call and accuse me (jokingly) of “paying someone off.” Now the founder/director of the youth theater company teases his friend back: ‘Who are YOU paying off this time?’”
— Hugh Copeland
“Agree or disagree, you always learned something by listening to him.”
— Craig T. Adams
“Being involved in live and movie theaters I ‘knew’ Mal before I really knew him and worked at The Pilot. I remember sitting near him when Steve Martin played Scope. Mal looked totally confused and I got a chuckle at him not understanding what was happening. But the joke was on me because his review was spot on. He got it!”
— Katherine Byrd
“I ran into Mal at his last picture show (Nov. 23). He was in the back of the Naro after a showing of ‘The French Dispatch.’ He greeted me with great gusto and said, ‘Roberta Vowell, I remember your many great stories. Especially one about a water-skiing squirrel.’ I was fully skewered but left laughing.”
— Roberta Vowell
“Monday nights in summer will never be the same. I forgive him for not keeping his promise to me to live forever!”
— Mary Curro
“The butterfly is a symbol of life eternal. Mal’s life has not ended. He lives eternally. Hallelujah! We love you, Mal! Love never ends.”
“Like so many hundreds and hundreds of Tidewater residents, our Monday nights in July and August were locked into Mal’s Movies. You may find someone to screen old movies, but we’ll never find a uniquely charming person like the one and only Mal.”
— Gerry & Pat
“The premier Hollywood storyteller who didn’t avoid the warts of the stars, but always brought a smile and a laugh.”
“My favorite Mal quote: review of the (1987) movie ‘Siesta.’ At the end of the movie, Grace Jones suggests Ellen Barkin be put in a mental institution. Would you want to miss a movie where Grace Jones suggests that someone — anyone — be put in a mental institution? That is pretty bizarre. Thanks, Mal!”
“Mal was like a North Carolina cousin! Loved him like family.”
“Mal was/is an entertainer! We attended many of his MOCA (Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach) and Naro critiques of old movies and enjoyed every one! I even dragged my 20-something to MOCA for an older flick and she remembers Mal more than the celluloid (film)! Mal was so enthusiastic and magnetic. His passion was/is contagious
Mal Vincent was synonymous with film and Hollywood. He was also a huge champion of local theatre. Reviewer, reporter and profile writer. Once there were more theatrical openings in Hampton Roads than on Broadway. I was reader for as long as I could read. As an elementary school student I wrote to Mal to disagree with a review of his. He wrote back. Disagree. Just go. As I commenced my career in the theatre including founding the Generic Theatre and then Artistic Director for the Tidewater Dinner Theatre, I was under the constant inspection of the great Mr. Vincent. I welcomed it all. I just didn’t want to be left out as theatergoers read him. When I moved to New York many decades ago, I would reach out when he was on his press junkets. When I returned to Norfolk to present a one person show about my own theatrical journey at the Generic five years ago, Mal was there both in person and in the advance piece. Mal’s taste was from Ava Gardner to Mitzi Gaynor. When he arrived at the theatre to review a new Blues musical revue I had done, he saw the show’s title in neon in the window. He mumbled “really Ron, Mr. Bennett waited months before he put A Chorus Line in neon at the Shubert. Are you sure this will be around long enough.” Pure Mal. Hope you are gossiping about the theatre scene with Gene Hammett right now. You will be missed.